WoW Classic Spotlight: Alterac Valley
Hello, and welcome to WoW Classic Spotlight! In this series of articles, we will highlight what made Vanilla so special for the players who did play during that time and help increase the hype for the upcoming
WoW Classic servers
In this article, we will go through the longest battleground in the history of WoW: old
Heroes of the Storm is releasing
as a new map, as an homage to the original Alterac Valley battleground. For more information on Alterac Pass, check out our
Yrel and Alterac Pass Spotlight article
During Burning Crusade, the battleground went through massive changes to make it not last so long. Although it was a welcome change at a time where honor grinding was going on stronger than ever, it made the battleground lose most of its charm for longtime players, as it was stripped from most of it's defining features. Let's get started, then!
Past Classic WoW Spotlights
Ruins and Temple of Ahn'Qiraj
The Ahn'Qiraj War Effort
Onyxia's Lair and Attunements
Alterac Valley Lore
The Battleground features a struggle between the orcs of the
and the dwarves of the
. A long time ago, the Frostwolf Clan was banished by Gul'dan to a hidden valley deep in the heart of the Alterac Mountains, for refusing to drink the blood of Mannoroth. Even after Thrall managed to unite all the orcish clans, the Frostwolves, now led by the shaman
, would stay within the valley they called home.
The Frostwolves lived in peace until the arrival of the Stormpike Expedition, led by
. The dwarven archaeologists came to Alterac Valley in search for natural resources and ancient titan relics, and were ordered by Magni Bronzebeard, then leader of Ironforge, to take the land and drive away any opposition by force, if necessary. After the Frostwolves vowed to defend their lands from the interlopers, Ironforge sent the Stormpike Guard as a heavily armored force to go against them.
Reinforcements? What are those?
Nowadays, one of the ways to way Alterac Valley is to exhaust the 600 reinforcements your opposite team has. During Vanilla, the only way for an AV to end would be by killing the final generals,
. Without the burden of having a finite number of reinforcements, Alterac Valley became a battle of attrition,
which would last at least hours, if not days
. That led to the addition of reinforcements in Burning Crusade, to prevent battles from lasting so long.
I wasn't kidding.
It was not uncommon to stay a couple hours in an AV, go to bed, then go back the next day, still in the same battle. Because of that, getting in an AV battle was often as hard as winning the battleground. Back in Vanilla, there were no cross-realm groups. Even the now extinct battlegroups were not a thing till the very last patch of Vanilla (1.12.0), and were only active for a few months before Burning Crusade was released, so for the majority of Classic, the only people playing each AV were from your own server. That coupled with the non-existance of an LFG tool and the late implementation of Battlemasters made getting inside AV all the more challenging.
Achieving Victory - Summonable Units
One of the aspects that would help achieve victory in Alterac Valley was looting enemies and npcs in search of items to turn in to NPCs in your main base in Dun Baldar or Frostwolf Keep. Those would either increase the strength of your units, or summon powerful allies to help in the assault of the opposing base.
Those are still available in Alterac Valley to this day, but due to the short duration of the battleground and the sheer number of items for each turn in, they are very rarely seen.
By turning in
to the blacksmith in your base,
, you could upgrade the guards on your side of the battlefield. With 3 levels of upgrades, those would become stronger and more of a menace to enemies trying to sneak in from behind.
Those are collected in the two mines of Alterac Valley, Irondeep Mine and Coldtooth Mine. Players would need to take control of the mine by killing the main boss of each mine (
for Coldtooth). After controlling the mines, players with the quest to collect either
can do so by finding them all around the mines. Resources from the mine located in the enemy territory (so Irondeep for Horde and Coldtooth for Alliance) were more valuable.
Once you turn in enough supplies, a player with high reputation with their respective AV faction could get the assault orders to
, in the Field of Strife, in the middle of the battleground. Once those assault orders are delivered, a troop of
will appear and start rushing towards the enemy base, obliterating NPCs and players of the opposite faction on the way. How many troops and how strong they are was dependant on how strong your guards are.
The Hearthstone cards from the basic set,
are references to the ground units in AV.
Heroes of the Storm
, the Alterac Pass map will have the usual lane minions replaced with Alliance and Horde themed ground assault units!
The Cavalry units are summoned with the use of the wildlife in Alterac Valley, and require two stages.
The first stage requires the capturing of
for Alliance and
for Horde. After bringing enough mounts to the
, the second stage requires you to venture into the enemy battlefield to collect hides from said Rams or Frostwolves (Rams for Horde, Frostwolves for Alliance), to craft saddle for the mounts of your cavalry.
After both stages are complete, a player with high reputation can issue the command to attack to the
. You can also provide commands to the cavalry leaders to push the assault forward or retreat if necessary.
, mounts formerly obtainable by hitting Exalted with the AV factions, are armored versions of the mounts used by the cavalry units.
Heroes of the Storm
, the Cavalry units come back as a map objective! Freeing the unit sends a cavalryman along one of your lanes to help push into the enemy's fortifications.
To summon an aerial attack, you need to rescue Wing Commanders that have been captured by the opposite faction. Once spoken to, they need to reach your base safely. Since they're deep into enemy territory, escorting may be necessary, although they can reach the base by themselves given no encounters with the enemy.
Once they're at your base, you need to collect medals (Alliance) or flesh from your enemies (Horde) for them to attack specific locations using Gryphons or Wyverns.
You can check below where each Wingman is located at, as well as the items they require and the places they will attack once enough items are turned in.
Held Prisoner at
West Frostwolf Tower
Outside Drek'Thar's Fortress
Stormpike Lumber Yard
Dun Baldar Bunker area
Dun Baldar North Bunker
Stormpike Aid Station
All the Wing Commanders are named after the pilots from the movie
. Since Burning Crusade,
got sick of the whining from players of their faction and defected the Alterac Valley. They since joined the Dragonmaw Clan ranks in
, and must be defeated in a race as part of the
And finally, the most elusive units in AV, the World Bosses! By collecting enough
and turning them in to
, they will begin a summoning ritual in the Field of Strife. You need to escort the Archdruid/Primalist and her Druids/Shaman to the middle of the battleground, then summon the bosses with 10 players clicking on the summoning circle.
Once complete, congratulations! You'll have
to help you win the game. Those boss level NPCs will terrorize the Field of Strife for a few minutes, then start their offensive towards the enemy keep. Usually managing such a feat results in a quick win, but they can be defended if you're facing against them.
Heroes of the Storm
, although Ivus and Lokholar are not making a return, Ice Giants that do resemble a mixture of both bosses appear as a boss-level objective for the Alterac Pass battleground.
Other famous units from old AV
Korrak the Bloodrager and the Winterax Trolls
A neutral faction within Alterac Valley, the Winterax Tribe is a faction of ice trolls led by
lived by the Field of Strife, in the middle of the battleground. In the earlier version of Alterac Valley, players of both factions would have to slay him for the quest
. At patch 1.8.0, an avalanche hit Winterax Hold, forcing Korrak and his minions to retreat to the Snowfall Graveyard.
They would still need to be defeated for your faction to take over the graveyard. After the removal of most non-faction NPCs on patch 1.10, Korrak and the Winterax trolls also left the Alterac Valley in search of greener pastures.
After Korrak's departure from Alterac Valley, he went MIA till Wrath of the Lich King: Now he's part of the Amphitheater of Anguish in Zul'Drak (
Once he arrives, he makes references to people graveyard zerging him in old Alterac Valley.
"Korrak has come, weaklings! Snowfall belongs to Winterax! Erm, Korrak mean to say amphitheater belong to Winterax! No graveyard here for you to play wicked games on Korrak! DIE!"
If you somehow still have the quest
, killing the Northrend version of Korrak will count towards the objective.
Alterac Valley Rewards
Alterac Valley provided many items that served as entry-level raid gear, as well as surprisingly good itemization for more casual players, being an unusual sight on an era of items with bad itemization overall.
Hero of the Stormpike/Frostwolf
A player's first contact with Alterac Valley happened usually with the introduction quests
, which required you to win an Alterac Valley match by killing the opposite faction's general. On completion, you gained the quest
, which gave you blue-quality weapons:
- A crossbow which originally contained both Strength and Agility, it served well as a stat stick for both Warriors and Rogues.
- A polearm high amounts of Strength and Agility, made for a good Warrior/Paladin/Shaman weapon, as well as a good stat stick for Hunters.
- Originally having Frost Spell Damage, was a great weapon for Frost Mages, and had enough damage to serve as a good non-mana attack for Warlocks and Priests.
- Originally had mana/5 seconds, being a great healer for all healers.
had great reputation rewards, leading all the way to Exalted. Since Alterac Valley matches could last up to days, it was (and still is) a relatively easy faction to grind to Exalted. Nowadays, those items can be bought with
and have no reputation requirements.
At Honored, you gained access to a selection of cloaks, necks and belts. Another notable item was the
, a consumable that matched Mage food in effectiveness, and was usable outside Alterac Valley!
At Revered, you got a selection of blue-quality weapons:
- Good for Rogues, the on hit effect procced very often.
- A great starter staff for casters who had just hit 60.
- Good for Warriors or Paladins who wanted to dabble into tanking. Also good for Bear Druids, since they used to gain attack power from Strength!
- 16-slot Ammo Pouch/Quiver for Hunters, back when they used ammo/arrows. No longer available ingame, but worth noting. Both factions sold both items.
At Exalted, you got a selection of epic weapons and rings:
: With Attack Power, Critical Strike Chance and Hit Chance originally, this made a good addition for all melee DPS and Hunters.
: Originally with Spell Critical Strike and Spell Penetration, this ring was great for all Casters.
: Great dagger for Rogues, with an added Intellect Reducing effect for PvP.
: An incredibly annoying 2-handed weapon due to its stun effect, was amazing for Warriors, Paladins and Shaman. Was also used by Bear Druids.
: The best starter shield for Warrior and Paladin tanks, with huge amounts of Block and increased Block Rating.
The faction also sold off-hand weapons that increased spell damage for specific spell schools:
: Increased Fire spell damage;
: Increased Frost spell damage and Intellect;
: Increased Shadow spell damage and Stamina;
: Increased Arcane spell damage and gave 3 mana/5 seconds;
: Increased all spell damage, good for specs that used more than 1 spell school;
: Increased healing done and gave 3 mana/5 seconds, great for healers.
Exalted also gave you access to a mount: the
for the Alliance, and the
for the Horde.
Heroes of the Storm
, those mounts are making a return with a more faction-themed armor! You will be able to choose between the Horde and the Alliance, and after a series of quests, the final reward is one of the mounts.
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